First of all, I would like to thank J. Scott Casper and others for all of the work they have done in an effort to shine some much needed light on the corrupt and thuggish behavior of our county board with regards to the highly secretive jail task force. Without Mr. Casper’s tireless efforts our county board would be well on its way to jamming not just a new jail but a new courthouse down the collective throats of every citizen of this county.

Still, we had two commissioners who showed absolutely no regard for the residents that they represent and without public citizen input of any kind, voted to move ahead with the purchase of the proposed new jail and courthouse site; Davin Tinquist and Burl Ives. Commissioner Ives was quoted in the Nov. 20 Herald-Review as saying “the community needs to understand what they want and then we’ll go out for bids and we’ll need to have a dollar amount and how much we’re willing to spend.” Are you kidding me? This is coming from a commissioner who was fine with the secrecy and lack of transparency of the original jail task force. Someone who had no problem with locking out the public and having concerned citizens escorted from the county offices when they wanted to have a say in something of this magnitude. Someone who was willing to move forward on purchasing the new property without so much as a peep of input from the citizens of the county. How, exactly, was the community supposed to understand what they want without having any input whatsoever? The hypocrisy is stunning. “If we don’t do the greenspace (proposed jail property), we can just sell it,” he is also quoted as saying. According to the information I have seen, that property has been for sale for quite a while. Not exactly a ready market for it. Commissioner Ives, Commissioner Tinquist and our sheriff are pretty free and easy with tying up our tax dollars.

The county needs to live within its means and quit treating us like a bunch of ATMs. If the state requires a new jail, add on to the existing one. If the judges don’t feel safe at the court house, look at ways to increase security. Their concerns don’t necessitate that we build them a new courthouse. Why is it that only as tax payers do we have to live within our incomes?

Now, after having to deal with the pushback from a large number of concerned citizens, they have decided to form a new task force for transparency. I hope so, members of the county board. We will be watching.

Bob Barton



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